Xi will visit Panama to strengthen relationship and investment expectations

Xi will visit Panama to strengthen relationship and investment expectations

Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Panama on Sunday in a historic visit that will strengthen the bilateral relationship after the establishment of diplomatic ties in June 2017, and amid great expectations about China's investment boom.

Xi will be the first Chinese governor to visit the Central American country, which has awakened in the president himself "great expectations", as he expressed it in a letter published on the day before by the newspaper La Estrella de Panamá.

"China has strengthened its position as the second commercial partner of Panama (…) within the framework of the Strip and the Road, both parties signed a series of agreements (…), the growing presence of Chinese companies and institutions in Panama has led to the creation of thousands of local jobs, "said Xi in his letter.

In the same sense, the Government of Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has pronounced, which has highlighted the rapid advance of bilateral cooperation after the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

"It is very important that Panama see this visit (from Xi) as something good for the country, which will greatly improve the presence of (Chinese) companies, increase foreign investment and strengthen the regional role played by Panama as a 'hub' (center) logistics, "said Varela last Tuesday.

Panama is one of the most dynamic countries in the region but for more than five years it has entered a slowdown stage, which requires more foreign investment to prop up the economy, local analysts and international organizations have warned.

The new diplomatic status of China has not been free of controversy in Panama and even in Central America, due to the reluctance of the United States after the Asian giant snatched in the last year and a half to Taiwan the Panamanian loyalty, as well as the Republic Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

In early September, the government of President Donald Trump called for consultations to their representatives in Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, and in a flash tour to the Panamanian capital in October Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, asked the region to have the "very open eyes" before the Chinese investments so that they do not end up harming their economies and the population.

Panama has defended its decision on the relationship with China as sovereign, has called for respect to all, and has insisted that the relationship with the United States, the country's first partner in all areas, has not been affected.

"We believe that the development of an agenda between Panama and China should not affect in any way our relationship with the United States, with which we have maintained a very strong agenda for more than one hundred years," said Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel on Thursday. Of Saint Malo.

The Government of Panama considers that the visit of Xi "is historic" and receives "with great joy", stressed De Saint Malo.

In the avenues through which Xi will travel on his arrival in the Panamanian capital, which will be partially closed by security measures, this Saturday flags of the two countries were observed on power lines.

The authorities will deploy about 2,500 security agents along the route used by the Chinese president, who will land at the country's main airport and stay in a luxurious hotel on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, which is accessed by crossing one of the two bridges over the Panama Canal, which will also remain partially closed.

Xi's official agenda includes meetings with Varela and his ministers, the signing of at least 14 agreements, a meeting with Chinese businessmen, and a tour of the Cocolí locks of the Interoceanic Canal.

China is the second largest user of the Canal, where 6 percent of world trade passes, the first supplier of the Colon Free Zone, the largest in the continent, and the third destination of Panamanian exports with more than 42 million of dollars last year, according to official data.

Panama and China have negotiated a free trade agreement since June this year, whose fourth round ended last week with "rapprochement".


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